In a new paper in PNAS, University of California, Los Angeles researchers describe a new high-powered camera they've built to capture the activity of single cells in high resolution, reports Popular Science's Rebecca Boyle. The camera — which the researchers say is the fastest camera ever built — can count individual cells and process a larger number of images faster and more continuously than existing light microscopes, Boyle adds. It could potentially detect small amounts of cancer cells hiding among healthy cells before any other diagnostic. "Engineers at UCLA mashed up several technologies to build this new camera, which uses a method known as STEAM: serial time-encoded amplified microscopy," she says. "It can take 36.7 million frames per second with a shutter speed of 27 picoseconds. It's sensitive to one part per million in real time, capturing cells moving at 9 mph. It can process 100,000 cells per second."
Jul 11, 2012